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Word Wednesday Fun: Amok

Amok is one of those words that you usually associate with one verb. In the case of amok, it is usually “run” or the past tense “ran.” The football hooligans ran amok in the streets in the wake of the fixture.

That type of association applies to many words, for example, fail. As in, he failed spectacularly. Sometimes it is impossible to simply fail. It must be a “spectacular failure”! 🙂

Amok is one of those “funny” words in the English language. It just sounds funny despite almost always used in a non-humorous context.

What I didn’t know prior to this post is that it is also a noun as well as an adverb.

Following the usual pattern, here is the Merriam-Webster definition followed by the Urban Dictionary entry.

Popularity: Bottom 50% of words

: a murderous frenzy that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malaysian culture

also amuck \ə-ˈmək\

Malay amok

First Known Use: 1665

Simple Definition
: in a wild or uncontrolled manner

Full Definition
: in a murderously frenzied state
a : in a violently raging manner
b : in an undisciplined, uncontrolled, or faulty manner <films … about computers run amok — People>

: possessed with or motivated by a murderous or violently uncontrollable frenzy

Related words
helter–skelter (or amuck), berserk, berserkly, frantically, frenetically, frenziedly, harum-scarum, hectically, madly, pell-mell, wild, wildly
Related Words
agitatedly, confusedly, crazily, desperately, feverishly, haywire, skittishly, uncontrollably; heedlessly, hotheadedly, recklessly, wantonly; chaotically, riotously, tumultuously, turbulently; aimlessly, haphazard, haphazardly, hit-or-miss, topsy-turvy

Here is the Urban Dictionary definition.

amok a-mock: an aggressive activity tends to ruin everything.
This word comes from southeast asian language, bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) :
that drunken guy run amok
by kidar December 16, 2003

And the flippant version –

Used if you can’t be bothered to put spaces in between “am ok”. Can be used to greet
dude A: hows you?
dude B: Amok!
dude A: gdgd
by dnh500 November 09, 2005



  1. My first association? “Amok Time,” one of the best original series Star Trek episodes, written by one of my favourite writers, Theodore Sturgeon. You recall that one?

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